Didn’t. See. It. Coming.
Unless you happen to work for Toyota’s R&D department, I’m willing to assume that you didn’t either. The Toyota FT-1 concept has already received ungodly amounts of coverage and even more doses of praise, without even being on the radar of cars to expect at the Detroit Auto Show.
No one knows very much about the car yet, but it follows on the heels of many rumors of Toyota producing a midsize sports coupe collaboratively with BMW.
The new concept also gives us a glimpse into an exciting new direction in terms of Toyota exterior design. It’s hard not to see the FT-1 as potential successor to the legendary Toyota Supra, and it harkens back to Toyota’s past of production sports cars such as the infamous 2000GT, Celica and MR2. If this is any indication, we are in store for the resurrection of Toyota fun.
Of course, Toyota isn’t the only automaker making hearts pound in Detroit.
Porsche has introduced an all-new 911 Targa, which for purists like me is like Disneyland bringing back the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I’ve always been a fan of the open-air Targa, because it gave the sensation of a full drop-top while providing the rigidity of a conventional coupe. I recently test-drove a 2008 model, though, and came away thoroughly disappointed because it just didn’t feel, or sound, like a Porsche. Plus, I think it did the “Targa” name a great injustice, because it really was just a fancy sliding sunroof.
With the Targa that has debuted in Detroit, Porsche has gone all retro-cool and brought back the sliding roof and honored the Targa name. The New York Times eloquently said,
Beneath the Targa’s graceful lines lies a complex roof-hiding mechanism that would put Rube Goldberg to shame. When the driver wants the sun, the rectangular top that stretches between the doors—aft of the windshield and forward of the roll bar—gets lifted aft by mechanical arms in a smooth arc as the rear glass and a huge chunk of its surrounding body are lifted out of the way, also by mechanical arms. The rooftop stows under the rear glass when everything comes back together, which happens roughly 10 seconds after the button is pushed.
Prices for the Targa 4S will begin at $120,000, and orders are set to begin immediately. Even at that price, I’d go new over used any day!
What looks better to you, the Toyota FT-1 concept or the Porsche 911 Targa?